Active deformation of flexible components

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Object-integrated handling systems make it possible to design lighter and less complex robot arms than standard industrial robots. This advantage in terms of weight and cost is particularly important for the handling and assembly of large or less rigid components. Tolerances and deformations must be compensated for in the assembly process. For this purpose, the component can be actively deformed with cooperating robots. An exemplary assembly process was investigated and implemented in order to validate the concept: a flat, rectangular sheet is gripped and lifted by four arms of the PARAGRIP handling system. It is then deformed into a given contour and transported to an assembly stand. Finally, the component is assembled using the natural deformation of the component until a positive fit is achieved in the assembly stand. Robot arms with degree of freedom 3 are used, so that only forces and no moments are applied for the deformation, which reduces the complexity of the robot and at the same time increases the control effort.


Research Hypothesis

Tolerances of flexible components can be compensated for without any jigs by deformation with a multi-arm robot system.


Implementation of an exemplary assembly process for flexible shell components.


FEM Simulation of the shell behaviour with determination of the variable binding conditions during the gripping process
Combinatorial examination of possible deformation processes
Simulative path planning with consideration of acting forces and stresses (quasi static analysis)
Analytical examination of shell deformation


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  • Path planning algorithm with Abaqus support
  • Simple Black-Box model for modelling shell behaviour
  • Analysis tool to evaluate the Black Box model



Institute of Mechanism Theory, Machine Dynamics and Robotics

RWTH Aachen University

Eilfschornsteinstraße 18

52062 Aachen



Phone: +49 241 80 95546

Fax:      +49 241 80 92263


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